WINNER: Arctic Cat Wildcat
This selection should come as no surprise.
We more or less rocked the SxS world earlier this summer when we shot-out the Polaris RZR 900 XP and the new Wildcat and gave the Wildcat the nod. Were we nuts? We think not.
This has nothing to do with the RZR XP’s competency. It has everything to do with the new kid on the block landing with a loaded gun.
The new Wildcat is a closed course, high speed, fire-road weapon of no small stature. Its longer wheelbase produces inherent directional stability (Read: High speed confidence) and aerial prowess rivaled only by serious, full size off-road desert buggies.
The Wildcat’s CG is silly low. The seats are literally mounted on the floor pan. It comes with standard EPS. The driver’s cockpit is ergonomically correct and exceptionally comfortable.
It would be hard to fault the assets of Arctic Cat’s first effort in the Pure Sport SxS category. However, we will mention a couple issues we think need addressing.
Clearly the 1000 V-twin is not in the same league as the XP’s 900 Pro-Star powerplant or the Maverick’s 101-horse reactor. The Wildcat needs more jam.
The underlying reason we picked this vehicle in this segment is rooted in its more stable, longer wheelbase. This extra length is a two-edged sword – it also contributes to the Wildcat’s enormous turning circle and too-big feel on tight trails.
However, when it’s all said and done, the Wildcat has made an indelible mark on the Sport SxS segment – first try.
RUNNERS UP: Polaris RZR XP 900 & Can-Am Maverick
You can’t go wrong with the RZR XP 900. We cannot and will not take anything away from this immensely capable, outperforming, unbelievably well mannered first-in-segment vehicle.
It is way fast, well suspended and amazingly settled on any surface. The Polaris Pro Star engine is the most sophisticated, purpose-built SxS motor in the industry and has proven itself, at 88-hp, to be both consistently reliable and extremely versatile, producing solid low end grunt and imposing top end thrust.
We’ve had limited time to evaluate the Maverick thus far, but this vehicle is so impressive we’re quite literally blown away by its arrival but we do not have a PR unit on the ground.
The Mavericks we drove in Nevada were all pre-production models, so here’s where we sit with the all-new, mind boggling, 101-horsepower Maverick. It is fast and powerful beyond description.
It is amazingly competent off-road – so competent we predict it will quickly occupy a lofty place in this fast growing segment.
We couldn’t give it the BIC this year because we simply have not had enough time with a full-on production vehicle. Stay tuned. This will get interesting.